PARIS (AP)French league club Auxerre has issued an apology for its coach’s behavior after Jean-Marc Furlan gave opposing fans the middle finger during a match.

Furlan was sent off deep in added time during Auxerre’s 2-1 loss at Clermont on Sunday. Furlan said he went to argue with match referee Mathieu Vernice because he was under the impression Clermont was not sanctioned enough for its fouls.

Furlan said he made the gesture after spectators insulted him when he got up to talk to the referee.

”I turned around and flipped my middle finger. So he sent me off,” Furlan was quoted by French media as saying.

In its statement released Monday, Auxerre said Furlan’s ”inappropriate attitude” does not correspond to the club’s values ”of respect and fair play.”

”We apologize to the Clermont-Ferrand public and to our supporters,” the club said.

Auxerre has failed to win its past six league games, lagging 18 points behind leader PSG in 16th place.

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